Mobley v. New York Life Ins. Co.
295 U.S. 632 (1935)

Annotate this Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Mobley v. New York Life Ins. Co., 295 U.S. 632 (1935)

Mobley v. New York Life Insurance Co.

No. 751

Argued May 6, 1935

Decided May 27, 1935

295 U.S. 632

Syllabus

Repudiation of a contract by one of the parties to it, to be sufficient in any case to entitle the other to treat the contract as absolutely and finally broken and recover damages as upon total breach, must at least amount to an unqualified refusal, or declaration of inability, substantially to perform. P. 295 U. S. 638.

2. A refusal by a life insurance company to pay a monthly disability benefit to an insured, based merely upon an honest, but mistaken,

Page 295 U. S. 633

belief that the degree of disability defined in the policy as conditioning his right to such payments no longer exists, is a breach of the disability clause, but does not amount to a renunciation or repudiation of the policy. P. 295 U. S. 638.

3. The evidence in this case shows that the life insurance company, in refusing to continue monthly disability payments, did not intend to break its promises to the insured. The fact that, when more fully informed, it allowed and tendered payment of the claims shows adherence to, rather than repudiation of, the contracts, and its efforts to have the policies kept in force were inconsistent with purpose to renounce them. Pp. 295 U. S. 634, 295 U. S. 638.

4. Whether the doctrine of anticipatory breach applies to this class of cases is not decided. P. 295 U. S. 639.

Certiorari, 294 U.S. 703, to review the affirmance of two judgments for the Life Insurance Company, on verdicts directed by the District Court, in actions on two policies, which had been removed from a state court and consolidated for trial.

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